Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tea Bag Letters Triggering National Security Alerts

Envelopes with soft powder-like lumpy contents and no return address sent through the U.S. Mail are increasingly triggering security alerts across the U.S. Postal system, in the mail rooms of Washington DC congressional office buildings and in the state and district offices of U.S. Senate and House members. These security alerts result in the evacuation of congressional office buildings in anthrax-like scares as Department of Homeland Security resources are diverted to investigate these national security alert calls .

One doesn't normally think of a tea bag as a threat to national security. But the small packets, when mailed to a member of Congress as a form of tax protest, can trigger alarms, given the post-9/11 anthrax scare. But as innocent as tea bags seem, they can cause false security responses when mail processing center sensors detect an unknown substance. After the anthrax scare of 2001, when letters with the deadly spores were mailed to Congress, authorities don't take anything, even tea bag letters, for granted.

Such letters sent to Congress must undergo costly special handling at tax payers' expense as they are diverted to special facilities to be irradiated, opened and inspected before they are delivered.

People sending tea bags in the U.S. Mail are not only jeopardizing the security of Americans by diverting Homeland Security resources, they are wasting millions of tax payer dollars -- the very thing they are protesting -- in unnecessary security operations!

Then again, maybe the Department of Homeland Security has good reason to be on alert. If you think the conservative "Tea Party" movement is just a passing fad, then take a look at a new report issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that says right-wing extremism is on the rise throughout the country. DHS reports no specific information about pending violence saying threats had so far been "largely rhetorical." Even so, DHS warns that the current political climate could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists."

Next Sunday will be the fourteenth anniversary of the worst act of domestic terrorism in US history.

On April 19, 1995 right-wing extremist Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring over 800.

McVeigh, a former soldier, was connected with the ultra-conservative right through ulta-conservative books, pamphlets and early right-wing radio that prominently featured Rush Limbaugh.

If the ultra-conservative right had been using the Internet in the early 1990's as they are today, no doubt McVeigh would have been soaking his terrorist rage against the U.S. government from the online anti-government content too.

From the New York Times:

Mr. McVeigh was an avid reader, his barrack mates recalled; he devoured Soldier of Fortune and Guns & Ammo magazines, the genre of paperback novels about survivors of apocalyptic war and lone commandos that are part of the post-Vietnam culture described by [sociologist James William] Gibson and, above all, "The Turner Diaries," a venomous novel by William L. Pierce, a former physics professor and official of the American Nazi Party. " 'The Turner Diaries' was Mr. McVeigh's bible," said a person closely involved in the case.

Mr. McVeigh's reading, which he pressed on his sister, Jennifer, among others, also included Spotlight, the newsletter of the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby, Patriot Report, a far-right Christian identity newsletter that would later declare the Oklahoma bombing a plot by "the real hate groups," namely the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, to crack down on armed paramilitary groups, and a strange document titled "Operation Vampire Killer 2000."

Written by Jack McLamb, a former Phoenix police sergeant, it seeks to enlist police and military personnel against "the ongoing, elitist covert operation which has been installed in the American system with great stealth and cunning." It continues, "They, the globalists, have stated that the date of termination of the American way of life is the year 2000."

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Operation Vampire Killer 2000 author Jack McLamb

. . .embraced a panoply of conspiracy theories. He told a 1996 rally that government officials were smuggling drugs into the country in a bid to incite racial hatred.

In 1999, he asserted that Vice President Gore intended to reduce world population by 90% through some kind of end-of-the-millennium Y2K plot. He suggested that Communist-led Latinos planned to take over the Southwest.

Along with his friend, Green Beret-turned-Patriot James "Bo" Gritz, he sold plots of land in Idaho as the perfect place to survive the coming troubles.

But when the much ballyhooed "Y2K" collapse failed to materialize, McLamb began to peddle his ideas on the tax protest circuit, instructing students last fall that "Taxes are Voluntary!"

Click hear to read more about how right-wing rhetoric, when transmitted long enough and loud enough, results in the terrorist bombing of federal buildings.

Read the whole Department of Homeland Security right-wing extremism threat report here:

If you are planning to attend one of the several tea party events schedule across Collin County on Wednesday, stop and think about the if the anti-government message being promoted by conservative tea party organizers is good for America...

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